Russia is strangely calm about Facebook’s cryptocurrency

Since Facebook unveiled Libra, a planned cryptocurrency initiative, two weeks ago, the company has been slammed by critics. From lawmakers and economists to financial regulators and consumer groups, virtually all are worried that Facebook’s crypto could impinge on privacy and facilitate financial crimes.

On July 3, David Marcus—head of the Libra project—addressed a few “misunderstandings” about Libra in a Facebook post. Marcus also confirmed that he will testify before the US Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee in the next few weeks. While Facebook portrays its crypto as digital deliverance for the world’s unbanked, the company has offered few answers to some of the most pressing concerns. These include the possibilities of theft, money laundering, and default of the reserves meant to back Libra.

Although US and European policymakers appear well aware of Libra’s risks, there’s been little discussion of non-Western perspectives on Facebook’s crypto. In particular, the Russian attitude could be important because the country’s government has a checkered history with bitcoin, allegedly using it to fund interference in the 2016 US election. Interestingly, Russia seems unperturbed by Libra.

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